Nightmares All Night


Been watching the HBO miniseries on the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster.


HBO has done an excellent job with showing what happened. 


Maybe too good…I was up with nightmares all night. 


Last night’s episode 3 showed in gory detail the initial causalities from the facility and first responders suffering with acute radiation syndrome, and was completely horrifying. 


In the end, the people were in unimaginable pain and were left as mounds of decomposing flesh from the cellular degradation rather than recognizable human beings.  


(The photo here was just a precursor to that end state.)


The ultimate death toll has been estimated at between 10,000 and more than 100,000. 


The effects of the the radiation was described in the show as like trillions of bullets penetrating everything it comes in contact with for the next 50,000 years.


So far we’ve had Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2012)…OMG, let’s hope and pray that we don’t have any others, because this was truly looking at hell on earth. 😉


(Source Photo: Official Trailer here)

Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 


Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 


May their memory be a blessing!


Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An Early Death

So I received an email last night from the teacher of my Ulpan class. 


She was passing along a message from a wonderful man in class letting her and us know some terrible news.


His son suddenly and unexpectedly died at just 28-years old this past week. 


He wrote about how tragedy like this impacts a person and family, and that obviously he didn’t know when he would be coming back to class. 


The message from this man who had just prematurely lost his son in the prime of his life really hit me. 


Life is so tenuous–where everything truly hangs in the balance by a thin thread. 


You can think you are building a fortress of success where no one and nothing can touch you, hurt you.


But life has its own catapults, battering rams, siege towers, and explosive moments in store.


You can’t really plan for these things, and you are never ready when they happen. 


Having to bury a child is not the normal way of the wold, and the pain of this is unimaginable. 


A child is the culmination of all our efforts and represents the future, even while we are the past. 


I am so sorry for what happened to my friend from class and I wish him my sincerest condolences and that no one should have to go through such tragedy any more. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Iron Maiden Torture

Check this out. 

This is called an Iron Maiden.

It is from Nuremberg, Germany. 

This one is from Medieval times, but they were apparently still around even in the 19th century!

It has 14 spikes on the inside that were designed to pierce the eyes, throat, and heart. 

People placed for torture and death in the Iron Maiden sarcophagus would be completely mutilated. 

Is this one of the reasons that so many people suffer from claustrophobia?  

I remember seeing in a movie where someone was placed in a dungeon cell, but this one was carved into the rock wall horizontally. 

The prisoner would be forced to lie down in it with iron bars caged over the side vertically. 

S/he could not sit up, roll over, or move. 

Can you imagine the sheer terror and torture?

How people could be so evil and inflict such suffering on others and often for crimes like heresy is extremely hard to understand. 

Why in G-d’s name does anyone call it the “good ‘ol days?” 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Ever More Vulnerable

Vulnerable.jpeg

So we have never been more technology advanced. And at the same time, we have never been more vulnerable


As we all know, our cybersecurity have not kept near pace with our ever growing reliance on everything technology.


There is virtually nothing we do now-a-days that does not involve networks, chips, and bits and bytes. 


Energy

Transportation

Agriculture

Banking

Commerce

Health

Defense

Manufacturing

Telecommunications


If ANYTHING serious happens to cripple our technology base, we are toast!


From a crippling cyberattack that disables or hijacks our systems, steals or locks down our data, or creates massive chaotic misinformation flow to a EMP blast that simply fries all our electronic circuitry–we are at the mercy of our technology underpinnings. 


Don’t think it cannot happen!


Whether it’s Wannacry ransonware or the Equifax breach of our privacy data or the Kaspersky Labs hidden backdoor to our top secret files or North Korea threatening to hit us with an EMP–these are just a few of the recent cyber events of 2017!


Technology is both a blessing and a curse–we have more capability, more speed, more convenience, more cost-effectiveness than ever before, but also there is greater vulnerability to complete and utter death and destruction!


This is not just a risk that life could become more difficult or inconvenient–it is literally an existential threat, but who wants to think of it that way?


People, property, and our very society is at risk when our cybersecurity is not what it must be.


It’s a race of defensive against offensive capability. 


And we can’t just play defense, we had better actually win at this! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Death With Dignity

death

It is amazing that still in the 21st century there is not widespread acceptance and legality of physician-assisted suicide. 


Even the term voluntary euthanasia (from the Greek meaning good death) is still considered taboo–similar to using the term radical Islamist.


People are afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with life’s complexities and harsh realities. 


All through history, mankind had the code of conduct and honor that when someone (person or animal) was mortality wounded by nature or in battle, they would be “put out of their misery.”


This is called COMPASSION!


Yet, in modern-day civilization, extremist PC-ness (politically correctness) dooms even such a basic fundamental act of decency toward one another. 


Like with radical Islam, the fear of saying it and admitting to a war against extremist and murderous religion ideology cannot be fathomed and so “leadership from behind” mandates that we close our eyes and pretend the boogeyman isn’t really in the room–even if it means continuous losing in the global war on terror. 


Similarly, with euthanasia, poor excuses for leaders fear that once the genie is out of the bootle, people will just be committing arbitrary acts of suicide left and right. 


Unfortunately, these weak people in leadership positions are not leaders, but rather cowards who force others to suffer whether by the hands of terrorism and war or by the unnecessary and cruel suffering for people with the most horrible illness and disabilities in society. 


In 1988, “Dr. Death,” Jack Kevorkian, provided assisted suicide to someone with the horrible, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and in turn, he had to spend 8 years in jail for second-degree murder.


Fortunately, there are now already 5 U.S. states where “physicians cannot prosecuted for prescribing medication to hasten death”, where individuals that “have a terminal illness as well as a prognosis of six months or less to live.” These include: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, and Montana (when mandated by a court ruling).  


Similarly, overseas in Switzerland, associations like DIGNITAS, provide services “accompanying dying patients at the end of their lives and assistance with suicide.”


The person must have a: 


– “terminal illness” and/or an 

– “an “unendurable incapacitating disability” and/or 

– “unbearable and uncontrollable pain.”


The end is made reasonable and humane by having a in-depth evaluation, followed by at least 2 face-to-face meetings with doctors, getting a prescription for the medicine, setting a mutually agreed date, having loved ones at their side, and self-administering the fatal dose of Sodium Pentobarbital (NaP), usually 15 mg by swallowing or administering by gastric tube or intravenously.


The medicine is “lethal, fast-acting, and completely painless”–after taking it, the patient falls asleep within a few minutes and passes peacefully. 


Having seen my own mother suffer horribly with Parkinson’s Disease, I know that voluntary euthanasia would not only have been the merciful thing to do, but the right thing to do to help people. 


Political correctness and fear of doing what needs to be done is no excuse for prolonging the suffering of those that want to exercise their right to die and who deserve their final peace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Do We Fear More?

halloween

So it’s Halloween tomorrow.


It’s a holiday to remember those that have passed. 


In modern times, it has become a holiday of ghosts and ghouls, spooky and scary.


People dress up often in ghastly costumes, party hearty, and go door to door, trick or treat.


With fright night, I ask myself, are we more afraid of what we don’t understand from the spirit world or perhaps of what do understand from people in this life?


Certainly, the supernatural and the spirits–elements of what’s awaiting for us on the other side are things we don’t really have tangible experience with or understand…we are afraid of the unknown.


But in this world, we are familiar and encounter bad people and deeds, and unfortunately have to deal with them, but it never becomes easier or less scary to confront these.


Sure, we understand that not everyone is good, and not everyone has the best impulse control–people do rotten, horrible things for selfishness and greed or simply because they can’t stop themselves.


How scary is it to run into and have to deal with people that can and will do almost anything–maybe without a conscious thought or remorse for doing wrong…perhaps, they might even enjoy hurting others, taking what doesn’t belong to them, forcing their will or themselves on others, and doing unthinkable acts of crazed violence and evil. 


We are definitely afraid of people like this…they are out of control, and don’t add up for those of us who think in terms of a soul, conscience, an everyday moral compass, and a seeing and hearing L-rd above


So life is scary, but death awaits us all as well. 


And as my dad used to say, no one has ever come back to tell us what happens over there. 


He had the most faith of anyone I know, and I understand we are supposed to have faith that we are going to a better place, but like coming out of the mother’s womb into this world, when we die, we are coming out into a whole new place altogether. 


New things are scary and going from the physical world to the spiritual one, I assume can also be a little earth shattering–where exactly are we going and how will we be judged when we get there? 


Of course, I hope that I will be with my family and with G-d and bask in his eternal light. 


Thus for me, I find myself less scared of ghosts and metaphysical things, but the evil that people can bring, behind ghoulish smiles and with hidden agendas, telling lies and fooling us of their evil intent, that is scarier than any ghost or goblin, any time of year on Earth or beyond. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)